Father, John James or JJ, and sons, Matthew (baptised as Matthys Jacobus) and Richard John, were both peas from the same pod, entrepreneurs to the bone ever willing to take a gamble on a new business venture. In most instances, they were vindicated but when Matthew crossed swords with the Divisional Council over the Seaview Farm, it was an ill-judged move.
Main picture: The Zwartkops Convict station showing the overseer’s cottage and the convicts’ quarters at the rear
By the 1890s, Port Elizabeth Port Elizabeth possessed four Locations: Strangers’ Location off Mount Road, Cooper’s Location off Albany Road, the Reservoir Location off Mount Road and Gubb’s Location in Mill Park. Despite immense pressure from white residents to relocate the residents to Locations further from white residential areas, this had never materialised mainly due to inertia and cost.
Events after the turn of the century would ultimately witness the actualisation of these dreams and the clearing of the original western Locations.
Main picture: Burning of huts in Stranger’s Location in 1903
These settlements were never called suburbs or townships but colloquially these residential areas were known as locations ab initio. What is less well known is that there were various black settlements in Port Elizabeth from its earliest days. Their inhabitants were generally Khoi but later came the amaMfengu after the British authorities granted them rights to live here in 1851.
Conspicuously absent from central Port Elizabeth is even fragmentary evidence of their location dwellings or artefacts. All that remains of these settlements are some footnotes to history. Ultimately these residents were relocated to Red Location and New Brighton in the early part of the 20th century.
This blog attempts to set that right.
Main picture: Part of Stranger’s Location at the top of the hill next to Russell Road with its beehive style huts